Sounds of the alarm woke her. Picking up the cell phone on the nightstand and glancing at the time she saw it was already seven in the morning. Today was the day. Jene was the new director for the S.A.D.S (Synthetic Automated Death Soldier) program. In recent years the government discovered a way to synthesize the death process causing a person's psyche to temporarily leave their body and enter into NOAH (Non-Operational Animated Humans). NOAHs practically held the psyche in place. They were chemically induced clones made from fallen soldiers that donated their bodies to science. NOAHs remain hibernated at the base waiting for animation or a psyche. This program was voluntary for those that completed their active duty. They could elect to sign up and complete six months for generous pay. But the program was geared towards new recruits and more were joining every day. Deployed soldiers were being brought home and replaced with NOAHs. Becoming the director of this program was the best thing she had ever done
Rolling out of bed she walked to the window to look out. There were several people standing around holding cell phones up to the sky. She went back to the side of the bed and picked up the phone. The display showed the time still being seven. Thinking back she knew a few minutes had passed. Then glancing down again she saw the screen glitch for a split second then show the same time. Walking into the living room she located the remote and turned on the television. “Breaking news,” it said. “All clocks have stopped due to a suspicious glitch in the system. Please remain where you are until this has been fixed.” The television continued providing instructions for everyone. But she didn’t hear any of it.
In the year 2065 all analog clocks were banned and destroyed. Everyone was required to join the digital system for protection. All establishments were put on the same clock system. They were considered checkpoints. It ensured everyone was where they were supposed to be at all times. Work, appointments, and leisure activities were all timed. But she thought how could clocks stop? Who or what could cause such a glitch? But they had planned for this. The phone slipped slightly and she fumbled to catch it. Calculating she thought back to how long since her alarm went off, maybe six or seven minutes? Scrolling through the applications she located one sanctioned by the government for program S.A.D.S personnel only. This could not happen today, she thought again. They had one day every six months to evaluate soldiers that had completed the program. Initially, the only memories to return was the day they went under. The timing of the procedure was the only way things worked smoothly. So when they woke up it was important to connect the timeline for their mind to adapt. Opening the application on her phone, she set a timer for fifty minutes.
Pulling a blouse off the hanger she threw it over her shoulder. A thought of Jones and the havoc he could wreak right now flashed in her mind. Dyson Jones was one of the most deadly soldiers known. He was originally sentenced to death. However, the government deemed him too valuable to kill so they cloned him. He was a twenty year old with a deep seeded joy for destruction, it didn’t matter what it was. This guy was dangerous and the military honed it, cloned it and then weaponized it. They turned him over to us to keep him alive and in play. This was his second time going through the program. She quickly collected her thoughts and finished getting ready. Looking at her cell phone the timer had gone down to forty-five minutes. Heading towards the door she grabbed the remote and switched off the screen. And quickly leaving the house she ran down the stairs to the street. She passed by several people, each one in shock.
“Well I will just sit here and enjoy my coffee,” she heard someone say. “The clocks stopping isn’t a big deal, everyone can wait.” People were used to the way things worked. Businesses knew if an employee would be late and most of the time why. You were literally being timed all day and everywhere. With clocks stopped everyone had to stop as well. At least everyone but her. She had a major concern and it couldn’t wait. It was the transport for a seriously sinister man on a super secret mission. It was important because of where he was going. Without clocks the system would not work right. Soldiers couldn’t get out of their NOAHs. While in play, when NOAH receives the signal to begin hibernation it would automatically head to the base to shut down. But without the signal it would remain in play.
Finally reaching the car she opened the door and got in. A slight buzz started in the pocket of her jeans. As she answered the phone and started the car a voice came through the speakers.
“Where are you? It has already been thirty minutes since the clocks stopped. We need you here now,” he fussed. “I know, I am on my way,” she barked back, hanging up the phone.
Checking the timer she realized Cal was right. It showed thirty minutes with seconds quickly counting down. She shook her head. There wasn’t anything they could do. The system was locked at the highest level. Even with a clearance a situation needed to meet several other criteria to be overrode. Meaning no matter what happens in the real world the soldier must stay in play. Technically the soldier was safe. If a NOAH is injured in the line of duty once the shut down process is completed the psyche would return to its original body for mental re-connection and evaluation. And the NOAHs would go into hibernation where their bodies regenerated. The mental side effects were very severe.The disconnecting of a soldier's psyche from NOAH could be damaging. It could take several hours or even days to reconnect the soldier's psyche to their original body.
Every six months soldiers were swapped with new ones. No one was supposed to go through the program more than once. Because of the program there were less deaths in the line of duty. However, the mindless people left afterwards wasn’t something anyone could forget or forgive. Baking out of her parking spot she started towards the office. Luckily it was only about a three to five minute drive to the base, granted nothing else happened. Jene pulled her badge out of her pants pocket preparing it to be flashed. She would need to show it to pass through any check points. Only those with special clearance could be in motion during this time. She passed through the checkpoints and barely missed the curb pulling into a spot. Unbuckling and jumping out of the car in one motion she sprinted towards the door. Group J was currently stationed in Siberia. A place Jones knew very well with multiple enemies still living there. The scariest part was Jones was inside of his cloned NOAH. They hadn’t placed anyone in that NOAH until now. They also hadn’t completed the testing of soldiers in NOAHs longer than six months to the second. The slow chime of the alarm signaling an hour had passed sounded in Jene’s ear. How would the soldier’s psyche react the longer it remained in the NOAHs? What would Jones do with nothing but time to destroy?